But the *NSYNC star wishes he stuck around the competition a little longer.
"I was definitely hoping to go further, but I heard Harp and she was absolutely amazing," Kirkpatrick, 50, tells PEOPLE. "If I was going to lose anybody, I'm glad I lost to her. I don't know who she is, but she has an amazing voice."
While the show announced Kirkpatrick's departure during last week's episode, the father of 4-year-old son Nash didn't reveal his identity until Wednesday. So over the last week, "there's been a lot of bombardment," Kirkpatrick says. "I look at my social media and there's so many fans that are like, 'That's definitely him. I will sell my house if that's not him.'"
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty; Michael Becker/Fox
Kirkpatrick reveals which of his bandmates recognized his voice, why he didn't tell his son about going on the show and why a seasoned performer like himself found The Masked Singer "humbling."
Why did you decide to go on The Masked Singer?
Chris Kirkpatrick: I was a fan of the show for sure, but I think it was mostly the challenge of just doing it. I could use my voice, but I couldn't be me, I had to portray this character. And it was a ton of fun.
What was it like inside the Hummingbird costume?
I'm definitely used to doing some crazy choreography. I mean, we used to flip around, back flips, front flips, side flips, every kind of flip. And then I walked out on stage and I've got giant wings, this enormous head, this long beak. It was definitely humbling in the fact that I had to change what I usually do on stage to fit with what I could physically do on stage.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up to date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Who knew you were doing the show?
We kept it really, really private. We wouldn't even tell my 4-year-old because he has a really big mouth and he would've slipped up or said something. So, we just told him we were doing a show that he was going to be able to see. Now he obviously knows. But it was just mostly my wife and my management.
Were there any other songs that you would've liked to perform had you moved on?
I definitely would've done more rock-y songs because I was trying to keep away from doing the high falsetto stuff that they might know my voice from immediately. And that was the idea in going with that song ["I Don't Want to Be" by Gavin DeGraw] and trying to find other like-minded songs that keep me in a different register that it doesn't come out right away and everybody go, "Oh, duh. That's so easy who that is." I wanted to keep everybody in the dark and when I get unveiled go, "Wait, what? That didn't sound anything like him."
Your bandmate Joey Fatone participated in season 1 as Rabbit. Did he or anyone else from *NSYNC get in touch with you about the show?
He texted me right after the show and said, "What's upcoming Hummingbird?" Lance [Bass] figured it out, too. Joey and Lance texted me right away. But when you sing with four guys for almost 30 years, they figure you out pretty quick.
RELATED VIDEO: Cheyenne Jackson Talks About How Hard It Was to Change Performance Mentality for Masked Singer
Are you surprised by the huge wave of the '90s, 2000s nostalgia that's having a moment right now?
No, not really surprised because everything's cyclical, it comes back. And for a while it's been the late '90s, early 2000s, which was our heyday. And there's a lot of fans that, back in the day, couldn't afford to go to the shows and now they've got their own money. I'm on this Pop2000 tour and I hear fans all the time saying, "I couldn't afford to go see you guys back in the day, but it's fun now that I can, not only afford it, but I can afford any kind of merchandise I want. I'm drinking with my friends." It's a lot different now.
Do you see a lot of fans introducing their kids to your music?
You'll still have the parents teaching their kids, "This is what I listened to." And the kids going, "Oh, that's cool, I like it." But for the most part, the fans from back in the day that are all grown up now, they've got a completely different appreciation for it. They listen to *NSYNC as "my growing up time" — this was a band that was near and dear to my heart, so it's very special. To continue to go out and get to do these shows and have fun is awesome.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
You've had some fun on TikTok with Joey and Lance — anything else coming up with you guys?
Any time we're together, TikTok's a fun little way that we can all clown around and do some fun things. We all definitely stay in touch. We're all still really close friends. And everybody supports everybody in whatever they do. I'm sure if Justin [Timberlake] and JC [Chasez] aren't watching The Masked Singer, they'll probably hear that I was on it and text me and give me a criticism of what I did wrong, what I did right.
Is there anything you feel like fans don't know about you still after all this time?
After about 30 years in the business, there's pretty much nothing they don't know about me. I think one of the coolest things, and this show is a testament to it, is the fact that I love to challenge myself. Doing Big Brother in January and February and then doing this show are two things that are so out of my personal comfortability.
You are a Big Brother fan, though, so you knew how to play the game.
Right. I knew the game, so that was a little bit easier. But this was more fun because this was something that I do. This was music. This was something I should have gone farther at, but I didn't.
If the show hadn't switched up the format and only allowed one contestant to advance, I think you definitely would've gone further.
I appreciate that. I try to tell myself that too.
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.